Our Lady of Victory parishioners ponder Notre Dame tragedy


BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) Much of the world was in shock Monday watching live images of Notre Dame Cathedral burning. As Florence Andrzjewski watched, she couldn’t help but think of Father Nelson Baker. 

“How much it meant to him and how he visualized something like that here,” said Andrzjewski. Our Lady of Victory Basilica was not built to look like Notre Dame, but that cathedral was one of three French churches Father Baker visited before building OLV in the 1920’s.  

“Father Baker found his inspiration, he went on a pilgrimage to Europe, to France, originally going to Our Lady of Lourdes,” said David Kersten, CEO of Our Lady of Victory Homes of Charity. “They stopped in Paris to visit Notre Dame, but also at a church, Our Lady de Victoire, Our Lady of Victory, and it was really inspired by his experience in that church and committed himself to dedicate his life to Our Lady of Victory and that became the inspiration for this beautiful house of worship.”

None of Buffalo’s architecture dates back 860 years like the Notre Dame Cathedral, but much of it still considered historic and still considered a treasure, according to Kersten. “It’s a reminder to people all around the world, but people especially here in Western New York, we have such beautiful places of worship. These are buildings meant to lift our hearts to God and to give thanks, but also maybe just a sense of stewardship. Everybody can kind of reconnect themselves to recognizing we have this beautiful architecture  and that it’s incumbent on the community to try and support these beautiful buildings for not just ours but their children’s children as well.” 

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